This is good. It's kind of obvious to normal people, but apparently another one of those scientists-are-incredibly-oblivious things. You know, once you realize it took the medico-scientific community a half century to really believe that ulcers could be cured with antibiotics and were therefore caused by bacteria, it becomes possible and even expected that the medico-scientific community is shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, that when you get some bad bacteria in your tummy, it makes you upset and mess with your brain and emotions. Easily the least introspective and self-aware community on the planet, I swear. No, wait, that would be conservative religious hierarchies. Never mind.
Here's why I am posting about it (other than that the article is a clear sign of Progress amongst the idiots):
"When he got up to speak, Lyte described a dialogue between the bacterial organ and our central nervous system. At the two-minute mark, a prominent scientist in the audience did a spit take.
‘‘Dr. Lyte,’’ he later asked at a question-and-answer session, ‘‘if what you’re saying is right, then why is it when we give antibiotics to patients to kill bacteria, they are not running around crazy on the wards?’’"
*bangs head on table metaphorically to avoid having to do it literally*
Okay, WE DO KNOW THAT THIS HAPPENS, RIGHT?!? Antibiotics do actually trigger bipolar people, and have been known on occasion to trigger mania in people previously never diagnosed with bipolar. What, precisely, that may or may not imply is still up in the air, obvs.
Scientists are like these small, stubborn, literal minded children. First, it didn't happen if they didn't see it and control it. And then once it _does_ happen, it must happen ALL THE TIME or they become angry and hostile and aggressive. It is my sincere hope that with more women in science and medicine and the intersection thereof, at least everyone will be a little better behaved. I feel confident I will be proven wrong about this.
What else did I read in the NYT today?
This actually _is not_ worth reading. In fact, it may well fall under a general heading that I have internally (labeled: I Really Don't Much Care for Asexuality Activists) of Stuff to Avoid. But there are some amazing sentences in it.
"And so old questions remain: Why can’t I put a good friend on my health care plan? Why can’t my neighbor and I file our taxes together so we could save some money, as my parents do? If I failed to make a will, why is it unlikely a dear friend would inherit my estate?
The answers to all these questions are the same: It’s because I’m not having sex with those people. (To make matters worse, that also means we probably didn’t have children together.) For the only thing that truly distinguishes romance and marriage from other loving intimacies like friendships, other familial relationships and close business partnerships is that sex is (or once was) part of the picture."
And that's how you can tell this guy is a (possibly closeted) asexuality activist. Anyone who has been married and/or had children knows perfectly well that the marital relationship has precious little to do with sex (possibly nothing, but I hesitate to take any position that far, because it seems like everything has something to do with sex, in the beginning, the middle or perhaps at the end), and everything to do with shared financial obligations, often to third parties. If you want to file your taxes with your neighbor, and you want to get into trouble when your neighbor lies on that tax return, you can file taxes together with your neighbor and you never even have to have sex. We don't check the sheets for consummation any more. We haven't for a really long time in our culture, maybe never in Canada, which is where the author lives. We just require that you fill out a bunch of paperwork (aka marriage) so you _understand_ that you are on the hook for each other's misbehavior (financially, at any rate). You can even limit your financial exposure by getting married and then immediately filing for legal separation -- altho the tax authorities are still going to be interested in what you knew about your neighbor's shenanigans if you are married to them. And if you tell them you _only_ got married to take advantage of the tax break, then that itself is a shenanigan in a lot of places.
The difference between the parental relationship and other relationships is that _it expires_. The difference between romantic and other relationships is whatever the participants say it is (and if I'm involved, I'm probably going to shrug and defer to any other participants because I've been in romantic relationships without any sex and friendly relationships with tons of sex so I clearly am not able to tell the difference). And the difference between marital and other relationships is that it is voluntary, binary, singular (only one at a time) and financial, and the entrance and exit processes are quite different from business partnerships and other contractual relationships.
I recognize that some people at SCOTUS whinged on about other nuances to do with marriage, but their expertise lies only in the law. Everything else they say can safely be ignored; it is not within their area of expertise thus you may treat it with the same contempt you dish out to excellent cooks who are terribly disorganized when going on about their filing system.
"One reading of the majority opinion suggests, however, one isn’t dignified unless one can be married."
Well, that would be entirely the wrong reading. Janitorial work is dignified work (and if you argue with me, you are no friend of mine), but you can be dignified and not be a janitor.
Cobb's final paragraph probably should have been the only paragraph in this piece. It would have seemed a lot less like he was pissing on the parade that the rest of us (except a bunch of assholes in the Middle East and Russia, I guess) were busy enjoying.